In today’s ALE Brown Bag Session, Emory Chemistry Lecturer Tracy McGill presented on the innovative ways in which she is using ALEKS to ‘flip the classroom,’ and inform decisions about course design, and overcome emotional obstacles to learning.
Tracy recently flipped her General Chemistry classroom with the aid of an artificial intelligence teaching tool called ALEKS. Adaptive learning tools can do an excellent job of facilitating student mastery of basic concepts. This kind of mastery, however, refers only to the ability to remember and understand simple concepts and problems (the two most basic levels of intellectual behavior identifies by Bloom’s Taxonomy). Too often, class time ends up being used to introduce basic concepts, and homework consists in leaving students working through complex problems on their own. But the adaptive nature of a tool like ALEKS makes it demonstrably more effective at ensuring concept mastery than an individual instructor, particularly when that instructor is facing a room of hundreds of students. What Tracy has done, then, is assign ALEKS as homework in advance of class, and use class time to go over more complex problems, that require higher orders of intellectual behavior.